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Graduate Programs

The Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University has a strong behavioral orientation which influences the department's programs.

Master of Arts

The master's program is designed primarily for the student with a bachelors degree in psychology or related discipline to prepare the individual to assume a professional role in business and industry, a variety of mental health services, or to pursue doctoral training.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology provides intensive training in behavior analysis and clinical psychology. The Ph.D. degree is a research degree for persons intending to assume leadership roles in teaching, research, and service in a variety of professional and academic institutions.

Department requirements

Departmental requirements include

Meeting or exceeding these criteria qualifies the applicant for review but does not guarantee admission to the department or any of its programs.

Applying to graduate school

Tips for getting into graduate school

The graduate programs in psychology are designed to provide professional preparation in psychology for persons interested in assuming positions in a range of settings including academic institutions, research, human resource and performance management, mental health service delivery or community service settings. Each of these graduate programs has a pervasive natural science orientation and a strong emphasis in behavior analysis theory, an approach that focuses on the interaction between behavior and the social and physical environment as a primary influence on the acquisition, shaping and maintenance of complex behavior.

Each graduate program requires training in a set of core principles that involve behavioral and cognitive-behavioral theory, research methods, systems management, and legal and ethical issues. Building on these core principles, each graduate program focuses on specialized applications and unique techniques for specific applications and settings (e.g., mental health problems, autism, developmental disabilities, performance management in business and school settings, safety and health related behaviors. The programs encourage student involvement in instructional programming, the delivery of service in community agencies and the conduct of laboratory and community-based research.

Department faculty are committed to quality education for undergraduate and graduate students and engages in continuous assessment activities designed to constantly improve the quality of its instructional programs. The goals of the department are intended to be coordinated with, and be supportive of, the professional and academic mission of Western Michigan University. Program activities are coordinated with various community agencies, providing continual interaction between the department and community settings.

The granting of a graduate degree in psychology by Western Michigan University is not considered a basic right for all students admitted to the program; the degree must be earned by the student. It is incumbent upon each student to demonstrate competence within each required aspect of the curriculum as they acquire the skills to assume a role as a professional psychologist. This challenge goes well beyond passing courses, and the act of matriculating in a program is considered evidence of an agreement to accept this challenge. It is the student's responsibility to demonstrate mastery of each competence required in the student's area of specialty.